Royal Foodie Joust: Whole grain flour, berries, balsamic vinegar~

22 08 2010

It’s Jousting time!  That’s right…another month has passed and there’s another Royal Foodie Joust food challenge out there!  The selected ingredients for the month of August are whole grain flour, berries and balsamic vinegar.  Since it’s Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, that pretty much provides us a wide open playing field!  Although many things came to mind, this dish is the one that won out at our house.  My submission is Aebleskivers with Balsamic Berry Compote.  Whether served as a brunch or a casual dessert, these little morsels are fun to eat, and pretty darn yummy too!  There’s also another story here…

Several months back, Angela of Spinach Tiger held a contest-giveaway, where the prize was a gift set from Aunt Else’s Aebleskivers.  I ran across a recipe for aebleskivers (pronounced EB-el-sku-wyrz) back in 1973.  At the time, there was no internet.  No one I knew on the west coast had ever seen such a pan as one of these.  I’ve packed that recipe around for literally decades.  It seems like when I can find a pan, I’m not in a position to buy one…like I’m a mile and a half from my car…or my budget doesn’t permit right then…  So, I still didn’t have one yet.  Aunt Else was doing a big promo, and there were several contests going on, and I entered all of them!  I was really tickled to win the prize at Angela’s site though!!  We’ve been cooking together in several venues for almost 2 years now, so that was a really special win!

First things first…It’s a cast iron pan.  It had to be seasoned.  That’s why it has all those odd caramel brown spots on it.  It’s been thoroughly seasoned.  Do NOT skip that step.  It is imperative so that your pancakes will release.   The whole process was very easy…a little fine tuning will make things really fine.  I can see it takes a bit to get the heating of the pan down right…and the timing of the turning so you get round balls that are completely round and done all the way through.  They cook faster than they look like they would.

These little morsels turn pretty easily to about this point…then it gets a little tougher, and it cooks really quickly at this stage too.  There is a little tool that comes with the kit, or you can use a chopstick, or even a knitting needle as the original Swedish ladies did.

I confess, for the first time using this pan, I used the mix that came with the pan…and it did contain whole grain wheat flour.  *Ü*  It was important to learn what consistency I’d be looking for in a batter in the future.  I’m glad I did… I’d have been working toward something a little more fluid, and would have been very wrong.   The batter for these is very thick.  The batter is at least as thick as sour cream.

By the way, I discovered an easy way to grease the insides of these little cups…a squeeze bottle.  Put a little veggie oil in a squeeze bottle and drizzle the oil into the cup, then pour in the batter from a pitcher.

While all that was going on on one burner, on another burner we were making a mixed berry compote.  One-half cup water, one-third cup sugar, 10 ounces frozen berries and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar.  Bring to a boil, and cook at medium until the juices have reduced by half.   The berry mixture will turn dark purple and become very thick.  Remove from heat and stir in 2 teaspoons more balsamic vinegar.

When Aebleskivers are cooked, sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar and serve with warm berry compote.   I’m not sure how many you should figure on per person…they get kind of addictive…  I’d say at least 4,  5,  6…  *giggle*

Tasting Notes~
Serious keeper… Oh my.  According to tradition, you can also put a bit of apple in the center of the pancake…  I may get lost in a whole different food group for a little bit!  I can almost taste these with crumbled bacon in the center and maple syrup!   Another thought…  Bacon and cheddar in the middle…with a tomato-basil jam…  See what I mean?  These could be so evilly good!

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Out of the Garden, Into the Jar…

22 08 2010

One of the things I love about Summer is the abundance of fresh tomatoes.  These, are San Marzano tomatoes, grown in my own garden.  I know they look kind of tiny…that’s ok.  They don’t have a lot of juice inside.  The seed cells inside are smaller with less gel that other varieties of tomatoes.  I’m not sure what’s keeping them on the diminutive side, but…that’s what Mother Nature dealt me, so that’s what I’m canning!  So far, each week I’ve had enough tomatoes to can 4 or 5 pints.  4 to 6 pints each week isn’t much work, it’s a quick canner load, it’s not much mess, but it builds up!!  I’ll be grabbing these babies all through the winter for anything that requires tomatoes.

How very interesting…  I just wrote a huge long post about canning tomatoes…which I’ve been doing for about 35 years…  Only to discover that there’s been a change in the recommended method for canning tomatoes.  Really.  Hmmmm…  I’ll have to research that some.  So…  Raw pack, water bath canning for tomatoes is considered unsafe, y’hear me!!  Don’t do what I did, because I don’t want your potential death on my conscience!   Even Mother Earth News recommends pressure canning…  University of Minnesota suggests a 90 minute water bath…  So many differing opinions!  I’ll go my own way and not make any recommendations to the rest of you.  *Ü*    I’ll just enjoy these rosy-red jars sitting on my pantry shelves smiling at me in the coldest nights of February!